GREENWICH, Conn. -- Supermarkets can increase their pet department sales by better marketing pet products during the Christmas season, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association here.
"In November and December, 99% of the business in pet stores is to purchase gifts. I'm sure if grocers put gift products in the pet sections of their stores they would increase their sales. It is really an untapped market," she said.
Alp said there are 56 million households with pets in the United States, and pet ownership continues to grow across the board -- fish, reptiles, birds, small mammals, as well as dogs and cats. And supermarkets still wield great power when it comes to pets.
According to APPMA's biennial pet owners survey, 74% of all cat owners buy pet food in grocery stores, as do 54% of dog owners. When it comes to bird owners, 27% buy their feed and treats in a supermarket, but most owners of fish, reptiles and small animals have to traverse to pet shops for their supplies.
Alp said supermarket buyers and category managers can increase their knowledge of pets by attending APPMA's annual trade show, which is the largest gathering of pet food and supply manufacturers in the world. The 1997 show will be held June 5 to 7 in Philadelphia.